NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — More than 24 hours after a retired military veteran was shot and killed in the parking lot of a Metro public golf course where he worked, police say they still don't have any solid leads in the case.
During a press conference Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Metro Police Department described the crime as "senseless."
George Carpenter, 71, was shot as he was leaving work just before 7 p.m. Sunday at the Shelby Golf Course in East Nashville. He was shot beside his pickup truck that was parked outside the golf course office. He had been working at the golf course as a facility attendant since 2017.
Two colleagues heard a gunshot. They found Carpenter on the pavement and called 911. However, he died at the scene. An unidentified vehicle was seen slowly leaving the scene. When officers arrived on the scene, Carpenter still had his wallet, and his truck appeared undisturbed.
MNPD officials said they are continuing to investigate all possible motives and identify any possible suspects.
"It could've been something personal, it could've been an attempted robbery gone bad," said East Precinct Detective Mike Windsor.
Det. Windsor asked for the public's help in their search for answers saying, "We're asking [for the] community's help in this because it's typical when someone commits a crime like this, they talk about it. and we're hoping someone's heard this talk and will do the right thing and call it in and report it to us."
Det. Windsor added that it's unusual for a crime of this nature to happen in this community.
"In fact, last year the precinct had the least amount of violent crime we ever had....I just want them to know as well as the public to know, Detective Windsor and the entire team at the East Precinct is working tirelessly, looking at every piece of evidence we could possibly track down to get any information," said David Imhof, Commander of the East Precinct.
The superintendent for the Metro Parks Department described Carpenter as hardworking, generous and kind. Superintendent Wayne Evans said he'd known Carpenter for more than 20 years because he was a regular of the course before he was employed there.
"He was an easy going guy, got along with everybody, everybody loved him - just one of those guys that makes you feel better when you're around him - always positive," said Evans. "All of us have bad days, but I haven't seen him have one - never seen him get angry at anybody. That's what makes this so tragic. I can't imagine any circumstance that would cause somebody to do this."
In a statement from Metro Parks, the department said they are shocked and saddened by his loss.
There is nothing we can say to express the level of disbelief we feel. George, who had retired from the U. S. Army, was a regular golfer and volunteer at our courses for many years before he began working at Shelby Golf Course in 2017 as a Facility Attendant.
George was a hard worker who often voluntarily worked more than the 19 hours per week he was paid, because of his love for and commitment to his fellow staff members. He was also known for his kindness and generosity and was well loved by many of our patrons. George will be missed by all of us who worked with him.
Please keep his family and teammates in your thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.
The Shelby Golf Course will remain closed until Wednesday morning. A small memorial marks the spot where Carpenter was killed.
There are no security cameras in the parking lot to help with the investigation.
Commander Imhof assured neighbors that the crime was getting the department's full attention. Still he encouraged people who live in the area to be aware of their surroundings and report anything suspicious.
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.